My pops is the senior advisor to the project that is brining the Space Shuttle Endeavour to its new permanent home in L.A. next week. Toyota is in on the action, and this commercial is part of one of the greatest marketing stunts I have ever seen.
To understand why the Triune Brain theory is flawed, let’s consider the reptilian brain. Here’s two reasons why it does not exist: (1) Reptile brains follow the same basic “floor plan” as ours. In fact, the brains of almost all vertebrates follow this same layout. Lizard cortex might not have six sexy layers like ours does, but it’s definitely there, looking all layered and stuff, and sitting right at the top of the brain like ours . (And data from molecular biology strongly supports the idea that, across species, cortex arises from the same tissue during development ). And anyways, (2) the basal ganglia were around long before any Komodo dragons were lounging on Australian shores during the Pleistocene (i.e., before animals left the water.) In fact, we now know that pretty much everything we can identify in our own basal ganglia can be found in the basal ganglia of the sole surviving species of one the most ancient vertebrate lineages, the lamprey . I can’t see anyone blaming addiction or frontotemporal dementia on a takeover of our behavior by “our lamprey brain” any time soon though. It just doesn’t have the same ring to it. Apparently, we want to believe that, deep down, we are snakes.
Neuroanatomy is cool.
A recent revolution in avian neuroanatomy  confirms that birds have just as much basal ganglia as we do—no more, no less. They don’t have as much neocortex—the wrinkly, layered neural tissue that we think makes us so smart—but there’s still plenty of brain sitting on top of the avian basal ganglia. And they can do plenty with all that extra brain. Comparative cognition has made a cottage industry out of showing that birds are in many ways just as smart, and in some ways smarter, than we are . They use tools! They recognize themselves in mirrors (unlike your stupid cat)! They can differentiate individual grad students (unlike some professors)! And songbirds—which are perhaps the most successful group, evolutionarily speaking—learn their songs from tutors, much like we learn language from our parents. Let’s see your dog do that.
My friends are smart AND funny.
I sent this paper to JK Rowling explaining how the wizarding gene could be singular, autosomal, and dominant despite the protests of a bunch of fans who stopped learning genetics after Punnett squares in 4th grade. Warning: contains science and is not approved for Creationists.
Nerdery at it’s finest. This is wonderful.
This. is. AWESOME.
Super simple homemade vortex cannon? I’m in.
Feynman on Fire. Take 5 and watch it.
[S]omeone had the idea of introducing children to a real scientist after they had drawn one, and then asking them to have another go at drawing. One of my favourite examples is of the schoolgirl who initially drew a man with frizzy hair and a white coat, but afterwards depicted a smiling young woman holding a test tube. Above it is the word “me”. I still find myself choking up when I show it.
The Large Hadron Collider has analyzed enough data to eliminate the Higgs Boson with 95% confidence.
Looks like someone may owe Hawking a beer …
Epidermal electronics, as they are called, match skin’s mechanical properties and can be applied the same way you would apply a temporary tattoo. Users place the device on the skin and rub it on with water; it can stay attached for more than 24 hours on most parts of the body. You can even sport the device incognito by hiding it under an actual temporary tattoo.